Saturday 20 December 2014

Family who lost ‘perfect’ little sister beg Irish road users not to text and drive

Published 20/08/2014 | 11:25

Jemma O'Sullivan

The family of a young Irish pharmacy student have begged road users in Ireland not to text at the wheel.

Ita Laffan and her brother Justin O’Sullivan made their plea while speaking of the tragic loss of their ‘Little Miss Perfect’ sister four years ago.

“The link between picking up your phone and losing people is something that we need to create,” Justin told Ryan Tubridy on 2fm this morning.

“Jemma was, first and foremost, our sister and our parents daughter.  She was the person who was sitting at our Christmas table in 2009.

We want Irish road users to think of someone close to them. If that person wasn’t around. For the sake of that text, would you lose that person?”

Jemma O’Sullivan (22) was killed in 2010 when a truck driver crashed into the car herself and her boyfriend Alan Godfrey were travelling in.

They were stationary on the busy M18 motorway in England when the driver crashed into the back of their vehicle.

Truck driver Christopher Kane (67) was texting on his phone while driving at nearly 90km per hour. He missed all of the signs warning him to expect slowly traffic as his head was down, concentrating on his phone.

“People were beeping at him; not only was he was texting, he was concentrating on the conversation he was having. One of the text was 117 swipes of the key long,” Ita said.

‘Loving’ Jemma had almost achieved her dream of being a pharmacist when she passed away, and she had originally moved to the UK to facilitate that dream.

“But she would come back regularly as she was a home bird at heart,” said Ita, who maintained it was like her little sister “had four parents” because of the age gap between Jemma and her siblings. 

The smash was so horrific that Jemma’s family had to have a closed coffin at her funeral. Ita broke down during the interview on 2fm as she told how they never got to properly say goodbye.

 “At the end of the day, he was a professional driver and should have taken more care,” said Justin.

“While texting is such a simple thing to do, it can cause horrific accidents.”

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